We have been wondering all week whether Speaker John Boehner and the Senate Republican leadership will actively lobby and whip the Republican Senate conference to support Representative Paul Ryan’s disastrous and cruel budget plan that would gut Medicare. We now have an answer to this question. The Hill is reporting today that Senate Republican leaders do not have the testicular fortitude to whip Paul Ryan’s plan to gut Medicare:
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is leaving Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget plan to its own fate in the Senate by not whipping his GOP colleagues on the vote.
Republican senators say McConnell has made it clear he will vote for the House Budget Committee chairman’s plan, but has said rank-and-file members should vote as they want on the 2012 budget proposal.
Okay then. McConnell is not up for re-election until 2014. According to the article Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.) and Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), two key members of the Republican Leadership will vote for Ryan's proposal but that does not mean anything. Kyle is retiring and Alexander is not up for re-election until 2014 either. If these guys were really excited and supportive of Ryan's extreme budget plan, they would have actively whipped it. That is not happening as they are playing hot potatoes with it. Boy, when these Republicans need to impose party discipline they are ruthless about it yet we are seeing none of that here because they just do not have the courage to vigorously lobby their colleagues to support it.
So how do their counterparts in the House Republican Leadership feel about this? Eric Cantor and the entire right wing movement spent the whole week beating up on Newt Blingrich for daring to speak up against Ryan’s “right wing social engineering” project. What are they going to do now that even the Senate Republican leadership is too cowardly to embrace this crazy plan?
Are we going to hear from Boehner, Cantor, and Ryan if a “group of centrists” Republicans in the Senate decide to run away from Ryan’s joke of a budget plan?
However, many Republicans are undecided, and a group of centrists is leaning against voting for the plan because it would cut Medicare benefits substantially. Ryan’s proposal calls for $5.8 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years and would transform Medicare and Medicaid. [...]
One GOP senator who spoke on the condition of anonymity expressed his belief that Ryan made a serious tactical mistake by spelling out Medicare reforms in his budget plan.
Uh, the translation here is: They preferred Ryan hid behind some Frank Luntz talking points without offering any specifics. It is not going to work this time. The cat is out of the bag now for these guys and they will have to make a choice between what should be a lose-lose proposition on the Senate Floor next week.
If the Senate Republicans embrace the Ryan plan, they will go on record supporting a cruel and draconian budget plan that would gut Medicare as we know it and double the cost of health care for our seniors. It would also enact – to quote Newt – a right-wing vision of “social engineering” by putting insurance company bureaucrats between patients and their doctors, giving them the power to decide what tests and treatments seniors can get. They will get destroyed on the campaign trail for it.
If they choose to walk away from it? Well, in that situation, they should be under fire from the crazy and reactionary House Republicans and their frothing constituencies from the Fox audience and corporate-funded Tea Party groupies. Not a pretty situation for these guys, and it is a reason why we are seeing guys like Scott Brown coming unglued in front of our eyes.